Baseball 101: MoreSplashHits answers thought-provoking questions Nos. 1-15

Mark Hermann of Newsday wrote a piece entitled “Baseball 101″ which features 101 unanswered questions that are offered to “provoke thought, debate, understanding and amusement.”

Well, MoreSplashHits can’t leave questions unanswered. So over the next week, we’ll be providing answers these unanswered questions.

So here we go.

1. Will Barry Bonds ever get into the Hall of Fame?

Yes. It may take a while, but the writers will eventually come around. We would project that next year, Bonds’ first on the ballot, he’ll pull in around 30-40 percent. That number will increase as the years go by and writers figure out that they can’t solve the sins of the past through their vote. You can’t pin the steroid era on one, two or a small handful of players. It was a far-reaching issue, the scope of which we may never fully understand. All you can do is treat it as an era, like the Dead Ball era, the era of offensive explosion of the late 1920s and early 1930s, the pitching dominated 1960s. Adjust the numbers for the era, then decide if the resume matches up. In Bonds’ case, it clearly does.

2. The same for Roger Clemens: Will he get in someday? And for both of them, should they get in?

Clemens’ path figures to follow a similar path as Bonds. He’ll eventually get in. And should they. Absolutely. They aren’t being canonized for sainthood. They are being judged as one of the greatest players of all time. And they are.

3. How about Pete Rose? Does he remain barred from the Hall because he bet on baseball?

Put him in. I think as one of his last acts as commissioner, Bud Selig will be to drop the ban on Rose. Once that’s done, Rose get voted in rather quickly, having served more than 20 years in limbo. His crime, at the time of his ban, was serious one. But with the explosion of salaries and millions upon millions of dollars players are making, do we really think gamblers are going to overtake the game?

4. Will the expanded playoff format mean we never again will see an immensely exciting final day, as we had at the end of the 2011 season, or will it finally restore a true pennant race feeling?

Sure we will. By opening up more chances for teams to make playoffs you open up the possibility of more races for those playoff spots. And the single-game playoffs themselves will create more excitement. This expanded format will create more excitement than it will prevent. Just watch.

5. Mariano Rivera is generally considered the best relief pitcher of all time. So who is second?

Dennis Eckersley.

6. Considering that players are bigger, stronger and faster than ever, and that equipment has grown much more advanced, why is it that 90 feet is still just the right distance from home to first to ensure lots of close plays?

Because everyone has developed. Hitters have developed, pitchers have developed, fielders have developed. The game has evolved proportionally, just as it should.

7. Which is harder to do: win 20 games or hit 50 home runs?

50 home runs. Since 2008, only one player has hit 50 home runs in a season — Toronto’s Jose Bautista who hit 54 in 2010. Since 2008, there have been 10 20-game winners.

8. When is it safe to allow a young person to start throwing a curveball?

15 years old.

9. What is the precise difference between “command” and “control?”

“Control” is the ability to throw strikes. “Command” is the ability to throw strikes, and not throw strikes, exactly where and when you want.

10. Who is the best all-around player (non-pitcher) in the history of the game?

Willie Mays. Next question.

11. And the best pitcher ever?

For peak value, Sandy Koufax.

12. Is the sacrifice fly really a legitimate statistic? (The batter wasn’t intentionally trying to give himself up.)

Absolutely. All you have to do is watch how many times the Giants strike out with a runner on third base and fewer than two outs to know that.

13. How should Jose Reyes have handled the final game of the 2011 regular season when he was trying to win the National League batting title?

He should have played the final game, weenie.

14. How many games will Andy Pettitte start for the Yankees this season?

15 … 20 if he takes a little HGH

15. Which is better, Baseball Tonight on ESPN or MLB Tonight Live on the MLB Network?

MLB Tonight. It’s on longer. Baseball Tonight goes for 30 minutes. MLB Tonight goes on for hours, and you get those live look-ins.

Baseball 101 answers to questions Nos. 16-30

Baseball 101 answers to questions No. 31-45

Baseball 101 answers to questions Nos. 46-60

Baseball 101 answers to questions Nos. 61-75 — COMING SOON

Baseball 101 answers to questions Nos. 76-90 — COMING SOON

Baseball 101 answers to questions Nos. 91-101 — COMING SOON

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